Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick tweeted Wednesday morning that he will not seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2021.
Bramnick (R-Union) said he will instead seek reelection to the state Assembly. He and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) represent District 21, which is based primarily in Union County, but also covers some areas of Morris and Somerset counties.
The decision should help former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, who is one of two announced candidates. Hirsh Singh is the other. Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt also is said to be mulling a bid.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has announced he intends to run for reelection. The Republican candidate will be determined in a June 2021 primary.
Bramnick tweeted the following: “After careful consideration about running for Governor, I have decided to run for re-election in the legislature with Nancy Muñoz. I look forward to continue to serve as Caucus leader and serve the residents of district 21.”
After careful consideration about running for Governor, I have decided to run for re-election in the legislature with Nancy Muñoz. I look forward to continue to serve as Caucus leader and serve the residents of district 21
— Jon Bramnick (@JonBramnick) December 9, 2020
Bramnick, 67, has a side gig as a standup comedian. On a more serious note, he has been one of the few Republicans in the state to criticize Republican President Donald Trump — as well as being willing to acknowledge that former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden won the presidential election.
New Jersey Democratic State Committee Spokesman Phil Swibinski, noting those facts, released a no-holds-barred statement on Bramnick’s decision.
“With one of the only prominent Republicans in the state who has met the bare minimum of recognizing the results of the presidential election now out of the race, it’s clear that the Republican primary for governor will be a contest to see which candidate can suck up to Donald Trump and his extreme base the most.
“That’s why candidates and potential contenders like Jack Ciattarelli and Doug Steinhardt, along with other Republican leaders, won’t even acknowledge the obvious and simple fact that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election — because they’re terrified of alienating a New Jersey Republican Party that is hopelessly devoted to President Trump.
“The fight to be the most Trump-like will mean running a reality-free campaign, starting with failing to acknowledge the seriousness and the human cost of the COVID-19 crisis. New Jersey voters won’t forget who aligned themselves with Trump and who stood up to him and helped elect Joe Biden.”
While Bramnick has opted against running for governor, he may still seek a job change.
Should state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. opt for a rematch with U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7th Dist.) for a seat in the House in the 2022 midterms (Kean lost to Malinowski in November), Bramnick would be a logical choice to take Kean’s seat in the Senate.